Beginners Guide: Cooking with Jackfruit

Whether you're looking for a meat substitute or just want to add more vegetables to your diet, jackfruit is a great option.  This beginners guide to jackfruit explains what it is, the best cooking method and an easy recipe.

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Jackfruit grows on trees in tropical climates.  The fruit itself is oblong in shape, green and very rough and spiky.  Inside the fruit are little pods, which in combined with the rest of the inside of the fruit, can be cooked.  

Your best bet is to buy canned jackfruit such as the one from Trader Joe's, or pre-shredded jackfruit, which you can find in the vegan section of Whole Foods or other grocery chains.

Jackfruit has a mildly sweet flavor to it, and can be used in place of meats in a variety of recipes.  

The jackfruit will cook down into what resembles shredded chicken or pork, and when sautéed with BBQ sauce and put in a sandwich or wrap, it will have the same texture and is very satisfying.

Health Benefits of Jackfruit

Jackfruit is a low fat, good source of fiber and protein, along with a healthy dose of vitamins A and C, magnesium and potassium.  Jackfruit has a low glycemic index, which in conjunction with its nutrition, may help promote healthy blood sugar control.  

The Best Cooking Method for Jackfruit

Let's assume you are buying canned or pre-shredded jackfruit, and I highly recommend that you do!  Buying a whole jackfruit and preparing it yourself is very tricky.

Cooking method #1 is to simply sauté it in a pan with a little oil, and add your favorite sauce.  I like to use BBQ sauce, and as it cooks down and starts to break apart, simply serve it in a wrap or over a salad.

This is the easiest and fastest method, however many report back saying they didn't like the jackfruit because it had too much of a fatty, watery texture...not so great.  

That being said, method #2 is my personal favorite because it makes the jackfruit slightly crispy and dries it out nicely, while still retaining the flavors of whatever seasonings or sauce you use with it:

Preheat the oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with tin foil.  Shred the jackfruit, drizzle a small amount of olive oil over and season with taco seasoning or BBQ sauce or whatever your heart desires.  Spread the seasoned jackfruit onto the baking sheet in one layer and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the jackfruit has cooked through and started to get crispy on the edges.

An Easy Jackfruit Recipe

Make a southwestern chopped salad with BBQ jackfruit or a vegan pulled pork sammy.

Shred the jackfruit, then toss it with BBQ sauce.  Follow the above oven cooking method (#2) to cook the jackfruit. 

Prepare a salad with all your favorite veggies, like peppers, red onion, tomatoes, cucumber, shredded carrots and chopped green cabbage.  Serve the jackfruit over top with sliced avocado.  Serve with a creamy avocado dressing:  blend 1 avocado, juice from 1/2 a lime, 1/2 cup cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper and cumin, and 1 TBS water.  Add more water if you want to thin out the dressing.

Or, put it in a bun with some cabbage and extra BBQ sauce for a vegan spin on a pulled pork sammy.

Looking for more jackfruit recipes? 

Jackfruit & Green Chile Baked Enchiladas

Do you have a favorite way to cook wth jackfruit?  Let me know in the comments below!  Happy cooking!

Lauren Collins

I'm a health coach and plant-based recipe creator from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. In a few short words, I love to cook, eat, travel, play around with food photography and most of all, I love to help people live healthier and happier lives. A lot of the recipes you see here are adapted from my Mom, or from just throwing a few ingredients together until something magical happens.

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